Models for Estimating Genetic Parameters of Milk Production Traits Using Random Regression Models in Korean Holstein Cattle

  • Cho, C.I. (National Institute of Animal Science, Rural Development Administration) ;
  • Alam, M. (National Institute of Animal Science, Rural Development Administration) ;
  • Choi, T.J. (National Institute of Animal Science, Rural Development Administration) ;
  • Choy, Y.H. (National Institute of Animal Science, Rural Development Administration) ;
  • Choi, J.G. (National Institute of Animal Science, Rural Development Administration) ;
  • Lee, S.S. (National Institute of Animal Science, Rural Development Administration) ;
  • Cho, K.H. (National Institute of Animal Science, Rural Development Administration)
  • Received : 2015.04.07
  • Accepted : 2015.08.07
  • Published : 2016.05.01


The objectives of the study were to estimate genetic parameters for milk production traits of Holstein cattle using random regression models (RRMs), and to compare the goodness of fit of various RRMs with homogeneous and heterogeneous residual variances. A total of 126,980 test-day milk production records of the first parity Holstein cows between 2007 and 2014 from the Dairy Cattle Improvement Center of National Agricultural Cooperative Federation in South Korea were used. These records included milk yield (MILK), fat yield (FAT), protein yield (PROT), and solids-not-fat yield (SNF). The statistical models included random effects of genetic and permanent environments using Legendre polynomials (LP) of the third to fifth order (L3-L5), fixed effects of herd-test day, year-season at calving, and a fixed regression for the test-day record (third to fifth order). The residual variances in the models were either homogeneous (HOM) or heterogeneous (15 classes, HET15; 60 classes, HET60). A total of nine models (3 orders of $polynomials{\times}3$ types of residual variance) including L3-HOM, L3-HET15, L3-HET60, L4-HOM, L4-HET15, L4-HET60, L5-HOM, L5-HET15, and L5-HET60 were compared using Akaike information criteria (AIC) and/or Schwarz Bayesian information criteria (BIC) statistics to identify the model(s) of best fit for their respective traits. The lowest BIC value was observed for the models L5-HET15 (MILK; PROT; SNF) and L4-HET15 (FAT), which fit the best. In general, the BIC values of HET15 models for a particular polynomial order was lower than that of the HET60 model in most cases. This implies that the orders of LP and types of residual variances affect the goodness of models. Also, the heterogeneity of residual variances should be considered for the test-day analysis. The heritability estimates of from the best fitted models ranged from 0.08 to 0.15 for MILK, 0.06 to 0.14 for FAT, 0.08 to 0.12 for PROT, and 0.07 to 0.13 for SNF according to days in milk of first lactation. Genetic variances for studied traits tended to decrease during the earlier stages of lactation, which were followed by increases in the middle and decreases further at the end of lactation. With regards to the fitness of the models and the differential genetic parameters across the lactation stages, we could estimate genetic parameters more accurately from RRMs than from lactation models. Therefore, we suggest using RRMs in place of lactation models to make national dairy cattle genetic evaluations for milk production traits in Korea.


Grant : Development of selection program in dairy bull using genomic information

Supported by : National Institute of Animal Science


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